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  1. The Blackwell Bundle

    #604472013-07-06 18:20:00 *Kirn said:


    I am sure that some people here still remember what were the first proper quests - like King's Quest, Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle and such. Those old pixeled things had a sort of charm that somehow kept you glued to the screen on pure story and grit alone.

    Well, thankfully, those are still being made. Not exactly those, but the quest with good classical feel are still with us, brought to you by a small company named Wadjet Eye Games. They are way smaller and really not as known as, for example, another quest-making company Daedalic Entertainment, but they are doing a good job and putting all they got into their work.



    I will say, the main thing that I liked, was the story. Which is how it should be with the quests, because your old-school pixel quest really won't be having any incredibly new features. Quests are first of all a story, so, naturally, this story is very important for the success of the game. And it is good.

    The main characters are Rosangela Blackwell, who is a writer, and Joey Mallone who happens to be a guy who died somewhere in the 30-s and a ghost. The Blackwell family has a gift that is passed on along the family line - this gift is the ability to see ghosts and to let them move on to the next world. Joey is part of the deal and is a spirit guide. Rosangela inherited all this (quite unwillingly) from her aunt and now she has to do the work of freeing the restless spirits in New York. And it's not an easy job.


    The basic aim is simple. Sooner or later along the story you will find a ghost that would be haunting some place. Your mission - to help the ghost to pass on. However, it is not a simple task, and all ghosts are quite oblivious to the fact that they are dead, so you would have to knock the sense of reality back into them by various methods.

    As I said, the features of the game are quite simple. You can interact with objects, you can use items from your inventory, you have a notebook where you collect note which then can be combined to get new notes or presented to other people to as conversation topics. There is a nice feature of searching for something on the internet (on a local google parody site). Additionally, you can control Joey, who's interaction with material world is very limited, but who has all the ghostly benefits like walking through closed doors, flying and being invisible to normal people.


    The Blackwell Bundle is a series of games connected by a common story. Right now there are 4 games total (the last one atm is being sold separately from the bundle), and the last story finished with a definite promise of the story not being over. During most of the games you will play as Rosangela, but the second game tells the story of her aunt. Every game pretty much consists of one case (however, one case doesn't mean that you would have to deal with only one ghost) and the games are really not very long - about 4-6 hours, depending on your familiarity with quests. The gameplay features may be somewhat different for each game. Also, the style ranges from game to game, keeping the overall pixelness.


    All in all, while the games are quite simple and short, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed them. The characters are interesting, the story is good, the voice actors, while non-professional, do really good jobs (all the games are fully voiced). Blackwell story will keep you for the few days, and personally I am wagerly waiting for the continuation.

  2. #604482013-07-06 18:30:47DarkChaplain said:

    I might actually have a few spare keys for some if not all of the Blackwell games. Still need to play my own copies, though.

    I very much liked Resonance and Wadjet Eyes games in general are pretty damn good throwbacks to better times.

  3. #604952013-07-07 10:08:07Kirn said:

    Bump. I googled around and found out that at least two voice actors in the game (including the guy voicing Joey) have wiki pages that tell that they are actual actors. So I was wrong about non-professional acting.

    But more importantly - while reading those wiki pages, I stumbled on the name of the fifth game in the series.

    The Blackwell Epiphany Announced, Will Be The Longest And Darkest In The Series

    Seems like the game will be darker, longer and will come out in 2014.

  4. #741032014-04-24 19:01:19Kirn said:

    Nice! I was wondering where the hell is that game! They were getting to a pretty damn nice bit of the story there too.

  5. #744402014-04-29 17:59:48Kirn said:

    I just finished the Blackwell Epiphany, and holy hell...


    So alright, those of you who played previous games, know that last time we had a pretty major opponent to deal with, so I am pretty sure everyone was wondering what would we be up against now. Plus the screens of the game that were shown before made it pretty clear that the game will be much darker. And hey, throughout the whole series we are dealing with dead people whom we have to smash with the fact that they are dead, and let me tell you, it's already sad most of the time.

    But you know what? They did it. They topped themselves and they said 'that's it, the end, there can be nothing else now'.


    Well, from a technical point of view, this is still your simple pixel-style quest. Very nice designs, I have to tell you, they really improved their stuff over the games. Gameplay has all the familiar elements - you want around, talk to people, switch characters, combine notes and search the net for clues. The game is not very challenging, but there will be places where you may get stuck for some time before realising you missed that or should probably try this.
    The game is longer that previous ones. I didn't really time it, but it feels twice as long as previous titles. I guess the reason is that in previous games, after initial tutorial, you are presented with a set problem that you have to deal with, and you are done when you are done. This time the events come at you in stages. You got tutorial, you got the initial mess, you got the more horrible mess later and then what you think is the final showdown suddenly switches into a next game stage. It's really nice, actually, because those game felt quite short before. This one does not feel so.

    But still, the main thing that is going for this game is the story and the characters. And if you liked the characters in previous titles, you will love this game. And the story here finally ties up all the history of the game. I mean, hey, we even get to know how Joey died - can you ask for more than that? So that's one thing about the story - you are finally presented with a complete picture and you know the reason for everything. Another thing about the story is that it's even darker than the places we visit. And I do mean that. The whole thing starts with something tearing ghosts apart - effectively stopping them from being guided into the light. The ultimate non-existence, you may say, and that's what you have to solve. And in the end it grows into something even bigger. And along the way there are some disturbing things, I can tell you that. No, really, even I thought at one point 'well, that's mildly disturbing', and that's saying something.


    As I said, the series are done now. The end just couldn't be topped, really, and they pulled a real deus ex machina on us there... which is not always a good thing, but since it is the end of the story, I guess it can be allowed.

    By this time you probably guessed that I really-really liked the game.

    I am not the one to replay games a lot, and I am pretty sure I won't be doing it any time soon, but I will replay the whole series at some point just to see through all the connections the games have. And, obviously, for the characters. And you should to. If you like good old point-n-click quests - you have to play this. If you like engaging supernatural story - you also should try this out.

  6. #744412014-04-29 18:12:06 *Kirn said:

    Oh. And while I was searching for screens for that previous post, I found out that they did a few short cartoons too. Like, promotional or something, I guess. Anyways, same voice -actors, same studio as a producer. Short clean fun.

    The videos came out in 2009, so I guess that's around the time of the third game.

  7. #772542014-05-29 23:38:16DarkChaplain said:

    Just started The Blackwell Legacy, the first game in the series.

    I'm just a short bit in, but already intrigued and enjoying the exposition. The very first dialogues, including the dialogue choices, do A LOT to give you a solid picture of who your main character is, how she behaves and how she lives.

    It is really quite nice to see Wadjet Eye's point & click adventures beat games like, let's say, Watch Dogs so completely when it comes to creating and introducing a compelling character via dialogue. Kinda sad to see games with massive budgets and writing teams, made by a dozen studios in cooperation, being obliterated in the writing department when compared with the first 10 minutes of a low budget point & click...

  8. #772662014-05-30 05:21:30Kirn said:

    You know, I already replayed all the games again, this time with audio commentaries. Apparently, the game creator was a bit embarrassed about how he threw a lot of exposition right away at the player in the first game. Well, and about some other points of the game too.
    By the way, I am trying to remember some point and click games from any big studios recently... and fail at that. Well, there are obviously Daedalic Entertainment, but other than those guys, I get the feeling like proper quest games were abandoned by the industry some time ago. So it's a damn good thing, people now do retro quests as an indie thing.